by Tina Bessias
Sustainability means stewarding all resources so that consumption does not prevent or exceed replenishment.
Durham Academy thrives today because it has sustainably managed its financial and human resources over the 90 years of its existence. We recognize a need to extend this approach to include the natural environment.
Guided by its mission to prepare students to live moral, happy, and productive lives, Durham Academy now turns to developing a more balanced relationship between the school and the natural systems on which it relies. We seek to reduce and eventually eliminate our contributions to climate change and biodiversity loss, thereby becoming a model of good environmental stewardship. We will do so by educating all constituents, fostering creative problem-solving, and acting with awareness of our inescapable interdependence.
Sustainability Goals at DA
4-Year SMART Goals
Incorporate Education for Sustainability into all subject matter at all levels
Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 25%
Increase Biodiversity on campus by replacing 2 or more acres of grass and exotic plants with native plants and trees
Long-Term Aspirational Goals
Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 50% by 2030
Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions to Net Zero by 2050
Through a 2022 Innovation Journey Fund grant, DA has engaged two groups to support our journey to environmental sustainability:
Jaimie Cloud of The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education leads professional development sessions and provides coaching for teachers and administrators to incorporate principles of Education for Sustainability (EfS) in Durham Academy's curriculum.
GreenPlaces works with students, faculty, and staff to do a formal, annual assessment of Durham Academy’s Greenhouse Gas emissions. This includes energy and water use, student and faculty commute, solid waste, transportation, cleaning and maintenance practices, etc. GreenPlaces also advises the school about strategies for reduction.
The Upper School chemistry and environmental science teacher is known as an educator whose “capacity for caring goes beyond the classroom.”
This holiday season, you could find an annual tradition of giving in every corner of DA — from each of its four divisions to the DA Family Association. Community partnerships old and new reminded students, staff and families of how simple it can be to get involved, to lift up others and to renew a spirit of service.
One of the most impactful ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to drive less — and one easy way to do so is to carpool to school.
In 2022–2023, sustainability efforts gained official status through an Innovation Journey Fund grant. We established a Sustainability Leadership Team and contracted with the Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education and GreenPlaces.
Over the course of two days last week, Durham Academy marked a major milestone in its sustainability journey: the school’s first-ever Sustain-In, a schoolwide harnessing of brainpower to reduce DA’s environmental footprint.